The travel review space has exploded in recent years and brands taking advantage are stealing market share rapidly, while brands which are not top of mind when customers search for holidays are losing business quickly.
Customers used to have a much smaller circle of influencers to guide their holiday choices: travel agents, national and regional media, TV shows such as Wish You Were Here? or Which? Magazine. As well as their friends, family and peers, of course. That small group of influencers now seems a long time way away.
While TV, radio and media remain important, word-of-mouth influence has blossomed with the advent of sites from Expedia, Booking.com and Tripadvisor to Trustpilot, Feefo and Reevoo. Customers can access reviews from sites as far ranging as Mumsnet to travel trade sites such as the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).
And travel companies can find out a lot more about their customers as well. Review site software such as Bazaarvoice has meant online travel operators can now host reviews, answer queries in reviews and gain valuable insight into customer behaviour.
The biggest game-changer of them all though is the rise of social media, which has allowed word-of-mouth to explode in the travel space through channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.